WGA fails in location permit bid

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The WGA has failed in a bid to have the city refuse film-location permits to struck production companies.

The guild pleaded its case to the city in a Friday hearing before the Los Angeles Board of Public Works. The WGA sought to have struck companies denied the permits necessary to close city streets for location shoots.

A spokesman for FilmLA, the private organization that helps facilitate industry permit requests, said the board ultimately nixed the guild's request after consultation with the city attorney.

But the board did issue an opinion -- with no binding force of law -- that production companies obtaining permits provide guild representatives 20 minutes on location during film shoots to state their views on the WGA's current negotiations impasse.

The WGA has been on strike since Nov. 5, and its last film and TV contract with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers expired Oct. 31.

"The Public Works commission did make a recommendation that the production companies hear the writers out, on location, for a period of 20 minutes," FilmLA spokesman Todd Lindgren said. "It's a recommendation. It's not anything that was binding, and if the city attorney advises us in a formal letter advises us to do that, we will. But until they we don't have the power to do that, and we're out of it."

Lindgren said FilmLA took no position on the matter during the board hearing.

The WGA said Friday that it is "committed to bringing this strike to a successful conclusion as quickly as possible. The big media companies that walked away from the bargaining table and continue to refuse to negotiate shoulder the responsibility for damaging the entertainment industry and the Los Angeles economy."

The AMPTP criticized the guild's attempt to prevent location shoots.

"The WGA this morning engaged in a failed effort to stop the city of Los Angeles from issuing four separate permits for film production," the AMPTP said. "Although the WGA was rebuffed by the L.A. Board of Public Works, the WGA's attempt to derail production on films with completed scripts -- and thus to throw hundreds and hundreds more people out of work -- shows that the WGA's organizers are continuing to do whatever they can to make good on their boast to 'wreak havoc' on our industry."
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